The Patriots took care of some in-house business Monday, locking up some familiar faces by agreeing to terms with veterans Matthew Slater and Brian Hoyer, a league source confirmed Monday.
The club also signed veteran interior offensive lineman James Ferentz to a one-year deal.
In addition, a league source confirmed Ted Karras, who started the final 14 games in 2021, including the last dozen at left guard, is poised to sign a three-year, $18 million deal with the AFC champion Bengals Wednesday — the first day contracts can become official.
Unlike 2021 when New England made the biggest early splashes across the league when the “legal tampering” window of free agency unofficially opened, it was J.C. Jackson (Chargers) and Karras who scored some of the biggest contracts.
The signings of Slater and Hoyer were expected and necessary.
Slater, a 10-time special teams Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion, is one of the most decorated and respected players in franchise and league history.
A locker room leader seemingly since he landed in Foxborough as a fifth-round pick out of UCLA in 2008, the likely future Hall of Famer will play his 15th season on a one-year, $2.62 million fully guaranteed contract.
He has been elected New England’s special teams captain for 11 straight seasons.
Hoyer, who proved to be a key member of Mac Jones’s support system, agreed to a two-year contract worth up to $3 million to back up Jones.
Hoyer, who will be heading into his 14th season, was an important mentor and sounding board for Jones as the first-round pick navigated his way through his rookie season.
“Brian’s been a really close friend of mine since I’ve gotten here, and I know he’s older than me, and he might be closer in age to his son, Garrett, but he’s still a really good mentor, and he just does a great job every week,’’ Jones said in October. “He’s super supportive of me and trying to help me in any way he can, and, you know, he’s hard on me sometimes, which is good. So he holds me to a high standard, and then he also has fun and enjoys the game, so he’s been around for a long time, and I think all the quarterbacks in our room have done that, and Brian is just a great example of a great team leader and a great team player. If he ever needs to get in there, I know he’s going to do a great job, so he’s always ready, and I’m just happy to be able to learn from him and just be in the same room as him.’’
With multiple changes to the coaching staff, particularly on the offensive side, having Hoyer aboard will help make any transition easier for Jones.
Hoyer, who has thrown for 10,631 yards and 53 touchdowns in 75 career games, knows this offense like the back of his hand and can take over if anything should happen to Jones.
Ferentz has bounced between the active roster and practice squad the last few seasons, providing valuable depth and could be poised for a bigger role with Karras headed out of town.
He started back-to-back games at left guard in Weeks 5 and 6 doing yeoman’s work New England’s offensive line ravaged by illness and injuries.
Jim McBride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.